Cats are known to be finicky with their food, and it’s a common challenge for many cat owners to have their cats get their daily nutritional needs met. Commercial cat food comes in different types and textures that can help encourage cats to eat.
If you’ve tried to feed both dry and wet cat food and haven’t had success, you may want to try mixing the food to see if it’s more palatable for your cat. Mixing dry and wet cat food has several other benefits besides flavor and texture. However, it’s also important to be mindful of some disadvantages of mixing food.
Here are some things to consider before you start mixing dry and wet food for your cat:
The 3 Pros of Mixing Wet and Dry Cat Food
1. Mixing Helps With Hydration
Some cats may not prefer to drink water from a bowl, which leads to dehydration. Introducing wet food to their diet can help increase their water intake. Wet food is more effective for keeping your cat hydrated than dry pet food, which has a moisture content between 10–12%. Many canned cat foods contain between 75–78% moisture, and you can find some that exceed 80%.
The moisture in wet cat food often comes from meat or bone broth. So, not only are you introducing more water to your cat’s diet, but you’re also feeding your cat more nutrient-dense foods.
2. Mixing Can Make Food More Palatable
Cats may not enjoy biting into crunchy kibble and often prefer eating wet cat food that has similar textures to their natural prey. Incorporating wet food to dry food can introduce new flavors and textures to your cat’s meals. It can also soften up kibble so that cats with dental issues have an easier time chewing their meals.
Slightly warming up wet cat food can make cat food more aromatic. While we may not enjoy the odors associated with cat food, the smells can grab a cat’s attention and encourage them to eat.
3. Mixing Can Prevent Grazing Behavior
If meals are tastier for your cat, they can help your cat maintain a healthy body weight. One of the disadvantages of dry cat food is that it can encourage grazing behavior if it is left out throughout the day, which means it’s more difficult to track how much your cat eats.
If your cat finds its meal delicious and eats it all in one sitting, you’ll have an easier time adjusting proportions to help your cat gain or lose weight. Sticking to a feeding schedule can help cats lose weight more effectively because they’ll eat an appropriate amount of food consistently and not feel intense hunger throughout the day. Adding more moisture will also help them feel fuller for longer.
The 3 Cons of Mixing Wet and Dry Cat Food
1. Mixing Can Be More Expensive
There’s no denying that wet food is more expensive than dry food. It’s also important to avoid low-quality wet food that contains unhealthy ingredients, like poultry by-product meals. So, you can expect your budget for cat food to increase if you plan to incorporate wet food.
2. Mixing Can Be Difficult With Prescription Foods
Cats on prescription diets need to eat a certain amount of food. So, it’s important not to adjust the quantity of prescription food your veterinarian prescribes for your cat. If your cat doesn’t like its prescription food, you can often find wet food versions that your cat may prefer. However, this can get even more expensive, and prescription food is already significantly pricier than regular cat food.
Before mixing prescription food, consult your veterinarian to determine healthy portions. Your veterinarian may also have some alternative brands with different recipes that your cat might like.
3. Mixing Can Lead to More Food Waste
Because wet food has a much shorter shelf life than dry food, it’s easier for it to go to waste. Most opened canned cat food can last in the fridge for between 5 to 7 days. Once the food is in the bowl, it must be eaten within 2 hours. Sometimes, it’s even sooner in higher room temperatures.
Because wet food goes bad much more quickly than dry food, it’s important to get your cat on a feeding schedule to prevent food waste. This can take some time and may even confuse or frustrate your cat. So, it’s important to be prepared for challenges that may come with switching up your cat’s lifestyle and routine.
Tips for Feeding Your Cat Mixed Food
If you’re interested in mixing your cat’s food, make sure to do it in a safe manner. Cats can have sensitive stomachs, so switching their diet drastically can cause an upset stomach that leads to vomiting or diarrhea. It’s important to do it in a gradual transition and ease your cat into eating new food.
If your cat needs extra help with maintaining a healthy weight, make sure to consult your veterinarian to ensure it eats the right portions. You can also use a scale to keep track of your cat’s weight as it transitions to eating new food.
Some cats may need some extra encouragement to stop free-feeding and eating on a time schedule. It’s helpful to praise your cat every time it eats and not keep food out for too long. When you’re in the beginning stages of scheduled feeding, you can give your cat about 15 minutes to start eating. If it doesn’t eat, place the food back in the fridge and bring it back out after several minutes have passed. You can also add some of its favorite treats to the meal to encourage your cat to eat.
It may take between 1–2 weeks for cats to adjust to a fixed feeding schedule. So, it’s important to be patient and stay consistent while your cat learns to adjust to a new routine.
There are many benefits to mixing dry and wet cat food, but it’s not always appropriate for every cat. So, make sure to weigh the pros and cons before incorporating both types of food into your cat’s diet. If you ever have questions about proportions and your cat’s nutrition, don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian to ensure your cat has a healthy and nutritious diet.
Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock